You got the new job — now run with it
Thursday, April 4, 2013
By Jo Miller
I recently spoke with a c-level
leader from the retail industry about the importance of quickly getting "the
lay of the land” when coming into a new position. "The first step that I take
when taking on a new assignment or a new project is what I call ‘surveying the
landscape,’” she said. "I study my surroundings and I try to understand the
people and processes that drive value in that particular area.”
Here are three steps to take to
quickly survey the landscape when you start a new role:
1. Find someone with organizational
savvy. Find someone who is well regarded and well networked in your new group
and ask if you can schedule some time to talk. The person may be your new
manager or someone who appears to have some influence in the team. Let her know
you appreciate how knowledgeable and well connected she is and that you would
appreciate some advice as you begin your new role. Review the organization
chart with them and ask: Who are the key stakeholders I should get to know? Who
else do I need to introduce myself to? What questions should I ask them?
Create a checklist of names and
create a plan to connect with each person in your first month on the job.
2. Become the go-to person. Before
you set out to meet those key people, develop a 30-second commercial that
concisely explains your role, your responsibilities and how you can be of help.
Share your name, your new job title and what you are responsible for (share
three concise bullet points that describe your role).
Encourage the person to go
directly to you whenever he or she needs to (share three more concise bullet
points that describe the reasons why this person should seek you out).Share your 30-second commercial at
every opportunity as a way of educating others about your new role, the value
that you add and why they should come to you. Use it when you introduce
yourself to the key people on your networking list and then ask how you can
help each other.
Speak it with confidence. By
consistently introducing yourself in this way you can shape how others perceive
you in your new role and set yourself up as a credible authority and go-to
3. Embark on a listening tour. Start
your new role with a "listening tour” by connecting with every individual on
your list of key stakeholders. The purpose is not just to introduce yourself,
but to have a purposeful and educational discussion with each one of them in
your first month in the job. Listen for any tips on how you can make the
greatest impact in your role.
In each conversation, discuss ways
you can help each other. But listen for additional information that will help
you uncover the people and processes that really drive value. Gather
intelligence on these categories:
- Informational powerhouses. These are
individuals who keep a finger on the pulse of what is going on in the
organization, the industry and the broader business environment. By tapping
their knowledge of historical data and emerging trends you will soon find
yourself empowered to make better business decisions more quickly.
- Influencers. Listen for the key
people of influence – those who have an enhanced ability to lead change and
make things happen. They are not necessarily found in high-level or
high-profile positions; pay attention to who holds influence regardless of
their job title. Try to understand where influence is held in your new
organization. Notice which way influence flows in the relationships surrounding
you in your new team. Is it flowing in the traditional top-down manner? Or are
there people who are equally able to influence each other? Are there any of
those rare individuals who have the ability to "manage upward” and influence
- Coalitions. Look for groups of
people who have formed groups that work together effectively and freely share
information, resources and opportunities. Ask yourself, "What do they have in
common? What is the social glue that binds this group together?” This will give
you insight into working more effectively with those groups and individuals.
Don’t spend your first month mastering
the tasks listed on your job description. By taking time to build
relationships, listen and get the lay of the land, you will gain confidence and
momentum more rapidly in your new role.
Jo Miller, CEO of Women’s Leadership
Coaching Inc., facilitates the NEW Leadership Academy webinars designed to help
Network of Executive Women members build core skills and prepare for top
management roles in their organizations.
Views expressed in signed blogs and
user comments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the
opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and
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